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How to Add Wi-Fi to Desktop? [Ultimate Guide]

Due to the advancement in Wi-Fi technologies, people prefer Wi-Fi over an Ethernet connection.

However, a Wi-Fi connection might not be available if you use a Desktop.

But you can connect your Desktop to Wi-Fi effortlessly in seconds.

You can connect Wi-Fi to the Desktop PC with USB Wi-Fi adapters, Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapters, PCIe Wi-Fi adapters, or by upgrading the Motherboard.

Continue reading the article to learn various methods to add Wi-Fi to your Desktop in detail.

How to Add Wi-Fi to Desktop? [4 Easy Methods]

If you are tired of tangled wires and want to go wireless, you should consider installing Wi-Fi on your Desktop PC.

This article will go through four possible methods to add Wi-Fi to a Desktop.

1. USB Wi-Fi Adapter

If you are not tech-savvy and do not want to spend much money to have Wi-Fi on your Desktop, you should consider using a USB Wi-Fi adapter.

A USB Wi-Fi adapter allows a Desktop computer to connect to a wireless network.

The adapter plugs into a USB port on the Desktop and typically comes with a small antenna that sticks out of the USB port.

Inserting USB Wi-Fi adapter
You can connect Wi-Fi to the Desktop using a USB Wi-Fi adapter.

The adapter contains a wireless receiver that communicates with a wireless router or access points.

Once you have plugged in the adapter and installed the drivers, your Desktop can connect to available Wi-Fi networks.

It works in the same principle as a built-in wireless card but connects to the USB port instead of being physically installed inside the computer.

Some USB Wi-Fi adapters also have external antennas to improve signal strength which is helpful in areas with weak wireless signals or if the Desktop computer is far from the wireless router.

Additionally, various USB Wi-Fi adapters available in the market can help you connect your Desktop to Wi-Fi.

Here are some of our recommendations for USB adapters;

USB WiFi AdaptersSpecifications
TP-Link AC600 USB WiFi AdapterSupports up to 433 Mbps
5dBi High Gain Antenna
TP-Link USB WiFi AdapterWi-Fi speeds up to 150 Mbps
Compatible with Windows (XP/7/8/8.1/10/11) Mac OS (10.9 - 10.15) Linux Kernel (2.6.18 - 4.4.3)
NETGEAR AC1900 Wi-Fi USBSpeeds up to 1300Mbps

2. Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapter

A device with only a wired Ethernet can connect to a wireless Wi-Fi network via an Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapter.

Usually, the adapter contains a Wi-Fi transmitter on one side and an Ethernet port on the other.

It establishes a wired Ethernet connection before giving the device a Wi-Fi connection. It enables the gadget to connect to the internet or other wireless network users’ devices.

Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapter
Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapter connected with the power supply.

The device converts Wi-Fi signals into electric pulses to be recognizable by the ethernet port.

The adapter can also be helpful in other ethernet-only devices, such as TV, printers, VOIP telephones, IP cameras and other legacy devices.

Some Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapters also has a built-in router, which allows multiple devices to connect to the wireless network simultaneously.

You can connect this device to your PC through an ethernet port and connect to the available Wi-Fi networks.

Here are some of our recommendations for the Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapter;

Ethernet to WiFi adapterSpecification
IOGEAR Universal Ethernet to Wi-Fi AdapterRequires no additional power.
Connection up to 180 m.
Universal Compatibility
NETGEAR Universal N300 Wi-Fi to Ethernet AdapterWireless Security-WPA-PSK
Wireless Transmission Speed-300 Mbps
Note: Some Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapters could need extra setup and configuration, such as software installation on the device or security setting configuration.

3. PCIe Wi-Fi Adapters

PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) Wi-Fi adapters are installed inside a Desktop computer using a PCIe slot.

They are often more stable and provide better speeds than USB adapters or Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapters, as they are directly connected to the computer Motherboard.

PCIe Wi-Fi adapter
PCIe Wi-Fi adapters are directly connected to the Motherboard.

Additionally, they contain an internal antenna that connects within the computer casing to strengthen the wireless signal in cases where the signal is weak.

You must discover a PCIe slot when you open the computer casing to install a PCIe Wi-Fi adapter.

You can insert the adapter and tighten it with the screw after locating an open slot.

After that, you will need to connect the antenna and the adapter to the power supply.

You may then need to install the drivers and software for the adapter. This will vary depending on the adapter you are using.

Most of the time, the PC will automatically search and install the required drivers. However, if it does not, you should refer to the user’s manual to install them manually.

Once the installation is complete, you can connect to available wireless networks in the area.

Here are some of our recommendations for PCIe Wi-Fi adapters;

PCIe Wifi AdaptersSpecification
TP-Link AC1200 PCIe WiFi CardSuper-Fast Speed up to 867 Mbps
Supports Bluetooth 4.2
Broad Wireless Range
TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 PCIe WiFi CardSupports Wi-Fi 6 Technology Powered by Intel
Speeds up to 2.4Gbps
Bluetooth 5.2 for Greater Speeds and Coverage
GIGABYTE WiFi 6E GC-WBAX210Intel WI-FI 6E AX210 module built-in
EEE 802.11.acR2+ax compliant
High speed wireless connection up to 2400Mbps
ASUS PCE-AC68 Dual-Band 3x3 AC1900Custom heatsink dissipates heat
Up to 1.30Gbps speed
Flexible Antenna Placement

4. Upgrading the Motherboard (If You are Already Considering an Upgrade)

You can leverage Wi-Fi connectivity by upgrading your existing Motherboard with the Wi-Fi-enabled one.

However, it is essential to note that this is a more involved process that can be more expensive than a USB or PCIe Wi-Fi adapter.

Upgrading motherboard
You can consider upgrading your Motherboard with in-built Wi-Fi.

Before upgrading the Motherboard, you should determine whether your current Motherboard has an open PCIe slot.

Furthermore, some Motherboards include built-in Wi-Fi, while others have a PCIe slot for a Wi-Fi card.

If your current Motherboard lacks either of these features, you will need to buy a new Motherboard with built-in Wi-Fi or a PCIe slot for a Wi-Fi card.

When upgrading the Motherboard, you must first remove the old one and then install the new one.

This procedure will require the removal of all cables, power supply and data cables, and any other components connected to the current Motherboard.

Lastly, after installing the new Motherboard, you must reconnect all of these components and install the new Motherboard’s drivers and software.

You should consult a professional or someone familiar with computer hardware, as this process may require technical expertise.

Read more to find out if it is possible to upgrade Laptop’s Motherboard.

5. Use your Phone as Wi-Fi Adapter

You can connect to the Wi-Fi on your Desktop if you have a smartphone that supports USB tethering.

Your smartphone will act as a USB Wi-Fi adapter in this case. You can follow these steps to connect to the Wi-Fi network using a phone:

  1. Insert the USB data cable from your smartphone into the PC.
  2. Connect to the Wi-Fi in your smartphone.
  3. Turn on USB tethering on your smartphone by navigating to Connections> Mobile Hotspot and Tethering> Toggle USB tethering On.
  4. Now, you can connect to Wi-Fi via smartphone.

The Bottom Line

You can follow the method that suits you best. But, in my opinion, if you are looking for a cost-efficient solution, you can go for the USB Wi-Fi adapter option.

However, if you are looking for high-speed and stable connectivity, you can consider a PCIe Wi-Fi adapter over any other option.

After going through the article, we hope you can gain a general insight into accessing Wi-Fi on your Desktop.

Read on to identify the causes and fixes for Ethernet slower than Wi-Fi and Ethernet Cable connected but no internet access issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Connect your Desktop to Wi-Fi Without Cable?

You can connect your Desktop to Wi-Fi without a cable using a USB Wi-Fi adapter or PCIe Wi-Fi adapter or upgrading your Motherboard to Wi-Fi enable Motherboard.

Why am I Unable to Connect Wi-Fi to my Desktop?

If you can not connect your Desktop to a Wi-Fi network, it is possible that the network settings have changed or the profile has become corrupted.

To resolve this, disconnect (or “forget”) the Wi-Fi connection before reconnecting.

Can we Use the Laptop as a Wi-Fi Adapter?

Yes, we can utilize the Laptop to work as the Wi-Fi adapter. It can be done by enabling the “Sharing” option under the Wi-Fi properties of the Laptop.

Then, we must enter some code in the cmd with administrative privilege to connect to the available SSID.

Continue reading to learn if your router saves internet history and how to resolve the problem of slow internet on a Laptop but not on other devices.
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